Dubai: An employee has been accused of breaching the privacy of three girls by sharing on WhatsApp a recorded video showing them dressed in bikinis while dancing and swimming.
The three Emirati girls spent a day out at the swimming pool of a luxury beach hotel and resort in Jumeirah in April.
A few days later, one of the girls received on her Snapchat account a recording in which she and her compatriot friends were videoed, according to records, swaying to music and swimming in the pool.
When she enquired with the sender, she came to know that the video had been shared on WhatsApp groups, Instagram and Snapchat showing the three dancing in their bikinis.
The girl complained to the police who arrested the Emirati employee after preliminary investigation revealed that he had shared the video. Prosecutors charged the suspect with breaching the privacy of the Emirati girls by sharing the video, which showed them in bikinis in the pool, via WhatsApp.
“That is absolutely not true. I didn’t share anything on WhatsApp,” said the suspect as he pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court on Thursday.
The employee’s lawyer, Abdullah Haji of Abdullah Haji Advocates and Legal Consultants, said in the court: “My client did not record the video … he was present at the beach like many others. There were dozens of beachgoers, who were shooting photos and recording video of the place and not of particular persons. My client firmly denied recording the video when he was questioned by prosecutors and the police.”
The suspect does not know the girls, who were videoed swimming in their bikinis in the pool, according to the lawyer.
“The complainant claimed that someone informed her via her Snapchat that the video had been circulated on Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp … and she also mentioned that she did not know who filmed the video and that she didn’t suspect any particular person. The case file lacks any substantial or decisive evidence that my client was the one who recorded or shared the video. Prosecutors did not confront the suspect with the content of the video. The owners of the social media accounts, where the video had been posted or shared, were not summoned for questioning. We ask the court to acquit the suspect or revert the case to prosecutors to confront my client with the video’s content or to question the owners of the Instagram and Snapchat accounts where the video was shared,” contended lawyer Haji.
The girls told prosecutors that they were afraid that the shared video might cause them family problems because they had been filmed dancing and swimming in bikinis.
A ruling will be heard later this month.